tv [untitled] December 1, 2012 6:00am-6:30am PST
squadrons. one consequence of that would be multiple squadrons providing aircraft to cal fire to support the fire fighting effort and one somewhat simple but very effective solution was the use of defense connect on line, the dco chat room. basically cal fire personnel, along with all the individual squadrons, all connected realtime able to communicate and coordinate both from the squadron and also on scene. >> well, thank you. let's go ahead and move into relationships. we had a significant discussion yesterday about relationships and again the highlighted and supervisor chiu's comments this morning. how do we ensure they are enduring past the past couple years. >> as general speese said
yesterday, we are here for the long time. on the installation side which we coordinate with cal fire and the navy we have annual exercise and we hit that every springtime prior to the fire season. i think what's also, it's important to remember that although it was stressed, the military members are members of the community as well so let's not forget that as far as active duty. although we're transient in nature, sometimes we're in deployment, many of us are home owners and we live in that community. we are part of that community as well. just like the guard, we have an interest in protecting our friends and neighbors. sustainment is, it's important to us and we'll maintain it especially on the region side. we're able to have these long-standing relationships while the operating force side goes forward and supports the on-going efforts, we are able to stay back here and sustain
those relationships. >> just to follow on that, the navy squadrons that provide fire fighting capability are a combination of active and reserve components. one benefit of reserve components is more longevity is pilots in the squadrons. you may have people who have been there for 6, 7 years and have seen multiple fires. that mutual trust is absolutely essential to this capability. >> a couple things that come it mind real briefly, we're talking about wild and land fires primarily but rest assured amongst the group here we're always thinking in an all rest capacity. cal fire's mission is we are the state's fire department. we are thinking about all risk missions whether it's fire, flood, natural or man made disaster, whatever the case may
be. some of the great dialogue we had yesterday, one of the scenarios i envision, there's a couple scenarios that i have heard before keep me up at night and one of those is the 7.8 in the la basin. conceptually one of the things we could look at is a mass of casualties to decompress the la hospitals in that event. so we're thinking in an all risk capacity. relationships are about mutual respect which we covet, especially in the dod realm. we do that through training and meeting together. one of our things we're very proud of is on an annual basis we get together and we conduct a 3-day training exercise as well as squadron level training: the first day of the exercise is a
telecon exercise to make sure when they pick up the phone they are talking to the commander, whether it's navy or marine corps. we discuss our local letters of agreement, what they can and cannot do, how we stay within the box of dsca and ir and what the culmination is with a fire drop where we're dropping watter. we conduct aircrew briefings simply because cal fire recognizes that you great folks have a primary mission, that's defense of the nation and we respect that and we understand this is an ancillary job and there is a high revel of rotation of people coming back from afghanistan or iraq, whatever the case may be, but we also reach out to squadron
level training. it really comes down to meeting with your cooperating agencies and training together on a frequent basis and having good and open dialogue. >> as i look back at that map here, knowing we were heading into that time of year where we're going to hit significant fire weather and knowing northern california as we are now but eventually southern california, one of the most effective ways to stop the fires from growing is that initial attack, which means we need to be able to quickly put resources up in the air and move them. i guess my question is from a national guard perspective, from a naval perspective, with the helicopter resources down there, do you feel you would be able to quickly move those resources and you have the agreements in place. we'll start with the national guard and work on our way down.
>> although we're advertised as a one week a month and two weekends a year, i've got crews on pretty much every day and if cal fire calls i can get crews out in just a matter of hours. we did do that about two months ago, the robbers fire, and it worked out real well. cal fire went in real aggressive and put out the fire in a short period of time. so there's no issue with us being immediately available, we've got our buckets, crew trained. >> as an example of that, 2007 we saw -- 2003 we had the cedar fire and we all thought the cedar fire in 2003 was a fluke. it was the first mega fire
that california really experienced. and we thought, well, it will be, that's a career fire, that will be it. then 2007 came around. in 2007 we had another fire siege, same weather scenario, but we didn't have one cedar fire, we had five of them just in my county alone so we were inundated by a large scale disaster in 2007. as an example of our agreement and the efficiency of that agreement is we had orders to (inaudible) at 0000 that day. that's a 4 hour activation time and that shows the dedication and effort to leaning forward to the mission with these agreements that we can have a 4-hour activation. i've been in this business a while and i'll say that's unprecedented with any civilian emergency services agency going to a dod asset and having it engage in 4
hours. >> commander, anything you want to share? >> more recently in 2012, two squadrons provided 3 aircraft and the notification process was approximately 2 to 3 hours. we have expanded the capability in the navy, as i said earlier, and that allows for that rapid surge response which was put to the test in august. >> on this most recent lightning complex fire, it was a little bit different for us as far as what happened there. like cal fire wants to, just like we all do, is aggressively attack things. but we have the applicable policies and orders that really regulate us a little bit because it's got to meet certain thresholds and sometimes like in this last one, it was a remote fire, very small, but it didn't meet some of the thresholds initially but
we postured and as soon as it crossed the line they were ready to attack it aggressively. those are challenges we have to work with as well but we're ready to provide that immediate response when necessary. >> we talked a little bit so far about training exercises but maybe from the navy perspective, the marine perspective, the national guard, what training exercises are you doing right now to integrate with cal fire or other local governments to make sure that we're ready for this fire season? >> well, as far as i expressed earlier, we have the springtime exercise. that was our fifth annual one. we will obviously continue that through. just like we were speaking about yesterday, maturing the process in our relationships as well. what we're doing here is again in a typical marine corps fashion, we're going to move
this forward into a more combined arms event. we have been previously doing the aviation operations but now we do have a robust capability within the one map on the air in aviation site on the ground piece as well as far as we have built in the plan as far as getting dozers, things like that, the logistical piece and making it a more robust exercise. initially what we looked forward to was on the initial capabilities exercise, the initial day, is to build a lot more friction into it. it's working through the orders. what constitutes the approval to enter into action. we can't just go at the call, it has to meet the threshold but we want to be able to attack aggressively and meet the intended desire but, again, we're going to build that within next year's springtime exercise.
>> thank you. let's go ahead and move over to a discussion of resources and there's a number of resources that dod brings to bear whether it's personnel or equipment or systems that they have. as i look back to my experience with the 2003-2007 fires, the one that stands out to me is the use and integration of helicopters. i can remember after the 2003 helicopters doing a field hearing with duncan hunter about the integration of helicopters and how better to integrate them. there's been a lot of discussion about that but do you feel we're ready this year and we are able to integrate those capabilities not only from a command control perspective but from a communications perspective for this fire season? anyone want to elaborate on that? >> can you hear me? okay, perfect. yes, we feel we're confident
that we have, the bottom line is any aviator knows safety is paramount. we greatly respect navy, marine corps and guard safety policy. cal fire has an aviation policy as well. we work cooperatively with the agencies here at the table to ensure when we are engaged in an aerial fire fighting event we are working within each other's policies. we have trained in a work around, we can do close air support with navy and marine corps aircraft, with the current system we have. would we like to improve upon it? absolutely. we have gone very high up in the organization to try and look at getting the r210 radio modified to the point where it can work on our vhf spectrums, that's one of our challenges we need to move forward with. but overall we're confident when we do call
upon dod assets to integrate with civilian aircraft, the training regimen we put forth will keep aircrews safe and also have them be effective. there was a lot of questions from a political level as well as a public level. you've got aircraft sitting at north island, just launch them, get them in the fight. it was hard to explain to them that that's a very delicate air space when you have fixed wing and rotary wing sharing the same air space. our aircraft are fixed wing, typically 150 feet agl at 200 knots but they didn't understand the calm complex of that. it would be like me showing up to the battle of belugia with my civilian fire helicopter and say i'm here to help. i would not expect to do
that because i don't know the com protocol, i don't know the doctrine on engagement. it was tough to explain that to a political body and the public why cal fire isn't launching everything we have and the marines to fight a fire. we've worked hard to educate them, i think a lot of them get it now but it was a challenge initially. >> thank you. do you want to say anything? >> yeah, i wanted to comment on operatability within the california national guard. they worked really well within the framework that we established with cal fire and then beyond that throughout the national guard and the army, all of our aviators train to the same standards so really we're able to integrate any aircrew from any state, any component, into our program at any time because we're operating you noah cording you
know, according to the same standards. back in 2008 we had a very large fire event here in california and we aircraft from 22 states responding to that. there is capability to respond within the national guard alone and we have started developing relationships with our title 10 partners, we do similar academics every year like they do so i think that helps generate interoperatability amongst the title 10 and title 32 assets within the state as well. >> well, i don't know about you all but i feel pretty comfortable going into this fire season. it sounds like we have a pretty integrated group not only within the military capability you but state and local capabilities and federal capabilities for this fire season.
with that i'm going to go down the line. as we get to our military partners i'd ask if there's other technologies that you think that you have that you want to share about that may be helpful as we start to get into fire season. please share those with us. ray, if you'd like to start. >> sure, thank you. first off, thanks for being here, it's my first time being here and i think it's an outstanding venue to meet the cooperating agencies and talk about policies and ways we can improve our response to the public that we serve. we look at title 10, title 32 resources in all aspects, all risk venue, like i said, not only aircraft but we utilize ltax for our agreements with la county fire, to mobilize fire engines to catalina island. we look at resources for debris cleaning, i found out there's a
desalization battalion for fresh water, that's an i object credible resource for an earthquake. there's a variety of dod resources that cal fire can provide in a statewide environment. i think the biggest thing for me, there's several scenarios that are challenging us, one of which and one of our fears, and it's been in the newspaper so it's not a secret, but one of the things that scares me as well is the united states is not really experienced what i would call a global disaster yet. we have had disasters, i was in katrina on an urban search and rescue team, i've been in pretty much all major engagements as far as wild land fires in california, but if you look at a global disaster perspective where you have a hundred thousand victims like a tsunami or a large scale event,
we have yet to experience that in this nation. i think the agreements we have here today and the relationships we develop today are going to be key to mitigate that. the other scenario that we are concerned with is a coordinated aerial incendiary attack by al qaeda. one of the things we've seen already in the european union is suspect of al qaeda starting fires in the eu if that happened in california in the right weather conditions, it would be disasterous and everybody in this room would likely be involved. but to go back, it's all -- for me it's all about relationships, it's all about communication and respecting each other's mission. we certainly appreciate our relationships with all 3 agencies up here. the last thing i would say with respect to technology, one of the things as a command and control tool that cal fire is
experimenting with is a program that dhs science and technology created and if you are ready to write it down, you can look online, you can google it, it's called the next generation incident command system or nics. it's a command and control web-based tool that we're looking with mit lincoln labs and dss and i would foresee when we stand up our wing operation center at miramar that the marine corps liaison and the navy liaison and if need be the guard liaison would have access to that tool. the next generation command system is a fantastic web-based command and control technology that we expect to use in the future. with that, thank you. >> thanks. colonel yeager. >> i just want to say you can't underestimate the risk presented by these environments we fly in and really the
relationships that we build with cal fire and the training prepares us to mitigate that risk. as rear admiral riveras said, bad things tend it happen at night. they also happen on the weekend and i think we have a 3-day week jepld here but i assure you we are ready to respond. >> from personal experience in 2007, i started training for fire fighting in 2006 but in 2007 was my first actual experience fighting fires and as i went in for my first dip in san diego to fill the bucket about two miles away was my brothers and my brother's house, his wife and my two nephews and that's when this capability really hit home for me, that it's an important thing. as was said before, every member -- we're all members of the community as well and it's all extremely important. the fire fight is important to us and we are ready and we count on the
relationship that we have with cal fire. in fact, that's probably the most essential part of this thing for us to be ready to fight future fires. >> colonel. >> thank you very much for allowing us to come here and participate because it is important. we really appreciate very much this opportunity. we're doing well right now but there's khal lefrpgs we can do better on and that's exactly what we're looking forward to do. we're looking forward to build upon and leverage what we're doing here. communications, that was one of the first things. it's different with our active duty forces because you see here, we send our aircraft all around the world. we can't necessarily just invest in some components in the aircraft and call it good because those assets may be gone and deployed but we have work arounds for that. we are looking forward
to that as well in addition to the training. lastly is we again kind of relish the opportunity to participate in the operations against an active enemy. at least here, it's fire. we appreciate the fact we can go ahead and enter a tactical command air control. those are operations that are familiar to us and they are, it's a great exercise for us tactically as well. we are able to integrate with cal fire itself with the objective being the fire itself. those work out for us here and we can go ahead and use those skills forward as well. thank you very much, we appreciate the opportunity. >> thank you, i'd like to thank our panelists and open it up to our group for any questions of our panelists today. yes, sir, secretary. >> there are a lot of things you can do in a forest that
tend to make it easier it fight a fire like most importantly burning off the fuel during the wet season so there's less for the fire to feed on. to what extent in cal fire and all your other things do you encourage people to do things in their forest when you don't have a fire that make it easier and more effective in fighting the fire? >> it's an excellent question, sir. we spend a large time in cal fire on public education and prevention and also with respect to you were talking about fuel, the fuels program, or vegetation management program in cal fire, we have a robust program throughout the state where we are conducting burning operations and vegetation management with prieflt ranch owners and private land owners as well as on state and cooperating with our federal agencies with the u.s. forest service. so
two-fold program, vegetation management, we aggressively pursue that, but also from a public education stand point. what we find in these large scale incidents, the public is going to have to be self-sustaining and self-supporting. they need to be prepared. we try to educate them in respect that we say we'll provide the offense, you provide the defense. we talk to them about hardening their structures in a defensive measure against wild land fires. a lot of it is public education, survivability, building standards, but predominately our focus is putting the onus on the land owner, putting the onus on the private property owner, we will attempt to protect your home but the days of staying and defending your home and killing our fire fighters are done. we will not stand and defend a house that has not been prepared by a land owner and die for it. we don't do that any more. that's one of our
doctrinal changes and we set forth some new guidelines with that. >> thank you. >> question, mr. secretary. >> in a large scale disaster relief, where the military is called in to assist the civilian components there is an obvious issue of how you get the command and control and in particular what telecommunications is used to support that command and control. your exercising together is very critical, i think, to working out command and control but you still have an equipment problem because the equipment, telecommunication equipment designed for the military was different from that used. how are you working out to get the coordination of telecommunications, particularly in disaster relief where the cellular infrastructure may be broken down and not available to support? could you comment somehow are you going to work out this telecommunications
problem. >> so from a perspective of fema, we not only have a defense officer appointed by dod embedded with us during a disaster but we actually practice and have communications interoperatability over our systems to be sure we can communicate with each other on similar platforms and also support state and local platforms, whether it was katrina or other events we've actually been able to bring in national guard platforms to provide 911 systems for cities that have lost those systems. we recently in the joplin tornados and also tuscaloosa tornados we brought in dod equipment to replace what was destroyed. from the fire side i know there's a lot of things you are doing to work around the interoperatability issues with regard to communications between fire and dod and maybe if ray or anybody else wants to speak to that. >> our communications
challenges still exist. we have excellent telecom communications, we have a layered effect of our radio systems. we have mobile command posts that we can exercise. so we're prepared for power outages, reduction of telecoms, we have a layered effect for our communications. but as everybody here said, we need help. if somebody here can help me get a navy or marine corps aircraft to talk to my guys on the ground tactically, i need that and i don't have that today. i use a command control helicopter, a civilian helicopter, to handle that and transfer that to an air to air victor frequency. but from a command control perspective, we're fairly robust. are we perfect, no, but we do have layered defenses against that.
>> miss yeager, i don't know if you want to say anything from a national guard perspective. >> we have some mobile explorable platforms we can send out to incidents to help provide additional infrastructure in the event everything breaks down then our units have organic communications capability so i can move that out and i can help reinforce cal fire on their incident with what i have in the aviation brigade and units through the state of california have that same communication but the iceu, which is a mobile communications platform, is ideal in events like this to push out to help. >> any other questions? >> i have one. back in 1992 when it was a big fire season and there was a lot of grass, they came to us and i was down at camp pendleton and they asked us it train marines on shovel work. what happened about 6 months later, they
ended up sending two battalions to yellowstone. i haven't heard any discussion at all, do you expect the military, the guard or the active forces to be training people to do shovel-like work? all you have talked about so far is aviation. >> one of the challenges with a ground-based attack and training a soldier to be a ground-based fire fighter is the training takes time. and it takes approximately 3 to 5 days of solid training to make sure that they are going to be working in a safe environment to learn what's going on. and most of the time that, the incidents in california will become mitigated. now, not to say that we certainly have that as an option. we have a fairly robust what we call fire crew